Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The World Doesn't End” as Want to Read:
The World Doesn't End
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The World Doesn't End

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,946 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
In this collection, winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, Charles Simic puns, pulls pranks. He can be jazzy and streetwise. Or cloak himself in antiquity. Simic has new eyes, and in these wonderful poems and poems-in-prose he lets the reader see through them.
Paperback, 88 pages
Published March 14th 1989 by Mariner Books (first published 1989)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The World Doesn't End, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The World Doesn't End

The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareAriel by Sylvia PlathThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot
Best Poetry Books
1,734 books — 1,897 voters
September Verses by Hunter S. JonesA World of Verse by Christopher  ShieldsMeeting With Christ and Other Poems by Deepak ChaswalA Poet's Journey by Marta Moran BishopVerse for Ages by Bernie Morris
Contemporary Poetry
155 books — 179 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 28, 2016 Seemita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who let life humor them
Throw a pebble into the pool and
see it dissolve into shimmering currents,
carrying burdens of ashen leaves that autumn
has swept beneath the silent tremors, teaming to cry
their laments; Or hide behind a ripe tree and cast a glance,
all the way to that faint window where a boy, on one palm,
is counting stars and fanning the other to soothe
his bruises and in his eyes, dances the night,
like a celebrating comet, about to go ablaze
in just a matter of Time; Time—
the lizard in the sunlight.
It doe
Aug 13, 2016 Praj rated it it was amazing
Shelves: with-a-beat

“Pudding, why on earth would you roam the streets in a torn skirt?”
“Little Lizzie, it’s you isn't it?” The woman with purple dye in her hair stood at the tiny iron gate. “Yes, it’s me, you wayward child!” An infant cradled among the exposed saggy breasts. “Shssshhh...... my sonny boy is trying to sleep”. She shoos the birds from pecking the child’s forehead. “What is that you are reading?” “ Charles Simic”, I say. “Is he that one-legged shorty who rings the church bells?” “ Nah-uh! He’s a poet,
This is essentially the Holy text for prose poetry.
Jul 11, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
My favorite book ever, taken on an overall enjoyment per-word mathematical formula, would probably be the very short stories and aphorisms that make up Kafka's Parables and Paradoxes. I like other books probably more, but those books have lots of words, and they are long and in a quick moment just opening up to a page there is most likely not going to be any immediate enjoyment gleaned from the pages (unless if luck was on my side and I opened up to say that talking light bulb scene of Gravity's ...more
David Schaafsma
The World Doesn’t End

Simic is the great Yugolsavian absurdist/surrealist poet. I loved re-reading these poems the past two days.

Here’s a taste of the book and his humor and horror, his history, and all his mystery and invention and magic. Oh, and these are prose poems:

I am the last Napoleonic soldier. It’s almost two hundred years later and I am still retreating from Moscow. The road is lined with white birch trees and the mud comes up to my knees. The one-eyed woman wants to sell me a chicken,
Mohamed El-Shawaf
لوحات سيريالية مكتوبة شعراً

فلو افترضنا مثلا هذه اللوحة، كيف يمكن لشاعر أن يكتبها

حسنا إن الأمر يكون ممتعا إذا كان خيالك فى حالة صحوه التامة، وأعنى بالتامة النسبة 100% أما لو كان منقوصا فأذن بحرب ضروس مع الملل

مجهدة إلا حد ما خصوصا إذا كان الجو حارا والكهرباء زائر لايأتى صيفا.
هناك رأى أتبناه يقول: وما الداعى لإعمال الخيال بكل قوته لاستحضار صور عجائبية كهذه؟: كأن يصور الصخرة بمرآة لا تعمل، أو يصور أمه بضفيرة من دخان أسود! أو قردة لها رؤوس سقراط!... إعمال الخيال فى حد ذاته شيء ممتع وضرورى، بعض الصور
Jun 04, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The prose poems of The World Doesn't End are comparable to those by Russell Edson - both notable for their absurdity.

"Let's waltz the rumba."
- Fats Waller

* * *


* * *

My mother was a braid of black smoke.
She bore me swaddled over the burning cities.
The sky was a vast and windy place for a child to play.
We met many others who were just like us. They were trying to put on their overcoats with arms made of smoke.
The high heavens were full of little shrunken deaf ears instead of stars.


Scaliger t
Robert Beveridge
Jan 21, 2008 Robert Beveridge rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished, cle-pub-lib
Charles Simic, The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990)

Charles Simic won the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The World Doesn't End, and it is blessedly easy to see why. This collection (which, despite its subtitle, is mostly prose poems, with a few "regular" poems thrown in for good measure) could easily be a primer for the aspiring poet on exactly how to write a prose poem. (Would that more who attempt it had read this!) In the days when prose poetry has fallen so
Jun 10, 2012 A.M. rated it really liked it
Unexpected is the word that comes top of mind when trying to describe this collection of prose poetry by Charles Simic, who received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for The World Doesn't End. For me, reading these poems was akin to walking through an exhibit of surrealist art.

"You never know what Charles Simic is up to until you reach the end of the line or bottom of a paragraph. Waiting for you might be a kiss. Or a bludgeon. A smile at the absurdities of society or a wistful, grim memory of Worl
Jan 25, 2008 David rated it really liked it
and so again. the used bookstore. floating quietly among the stacks. looking. looking. waiting for a book to be sitting just slightly out from the rest on the shelf, as though a hand had held and tentatively put it back. but not quite. and this poem, there in the poetry section.

The time of minor poets is coming. Good-by
Whitman, Dickinson, Frost. Welcome you whose
fame will never reach beyond your closest family,
and perhaps one or two good friends gathered after
dinner over a jug of fierce red wine
Brent Legault
Jul 24, 2012 Brent Legault rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gatewayers, had-enoughs
A series of vignettes, of poetic vignettes to be sure, that sometimes read like an unsanitized children's tale or fairy book, sometimes like a Taoist who's thrown in the towel. Many of them are short enough and sure enough of their power to be aphorisms and should, perhaps, be listed in Bartlett's. While others resemble an entry in a gifted writer's dream-journal. Here is one of those:

My thumb is embarking on a great adventure. "Don't go, please," say the fingers. They try to hold him down. Here
Sep 09, 2009 Angie rated it it was ok
Some of the poems in this collection are really amazing and make one feel a range of emotions, from shock to confusion to love to laughter.

The rest of them sound like a mentally insane, drunk, homeless man's preaching of an extraterrestrial gospel on the street corner.
Eric T. Voigt
Mar 11, 2013 Eric T. Voigt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-thirteen
This is my first Simic and it's just as everyone expected: I'm taken. I'm smitten with this Simic. I've been prepped for it and prodded to hurry up and read some and now I have and I feel like I could knock down a bull with one blow, or at least handle Professor Bibi Andersson more handily than normal in a wrestling match. Here's my favorite poem. It has to do with witches and I'm wondering if I'm entering a witch phase, what with all the witch haus and witch google image searching. Anyway: "O w ...more
Jan 17, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Ah, Charles Simic, my secret husband. Loved this. Just ordered this online to own it and love it some more. Also his notebooks book which looks amazing in reviews. I thought Wallace Stevens was my secret husband for a long time but then I discovered Charles Simic and realized Wallace was more like a first husband that there is this big connect with but it just didn't work out. Maybe it was the whole banker thing. Who knows. Thank goodness Charles came along.
Matthew Thompson
Nov 15, 2010 Matthew Thompson rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking in his simplicity, intoxicating in his imagery, stupefying in his power to repeatedly cut you right down to the bone. Simic is the rarest of writers who can take up the esoteric and transform it into the near-universal. I read this book and felt my brain being rearranged.
Thing Two
He was annoying as hell to listen to in class, and I didn't think he offered students much take-away information they could use, but damn this is an awesome book of poetry and prose.
سماء سالم
Jan 10, 2015 سماء سالم rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ملامح
يا عاشق الخيبات اللانهائية ...

هويتى السرية هى :

الغرفة خاوية والنفاذة مفتوحة !..

نصوص اقرب للسيريالية ..بديعة ومتقنة الصنع

أماني خليل
ديوان يدمي القلب.. صور شعرية مختلفة مفجعة في انسانيتها. لغة تتشقق عن التكرار لتكتمل في البلاغة والرهافة.
شكرا لاسلام يوسف الترشيح دم بود يا صديقي
رغد قاسم
الحجر هو مرآة تعمل برداءة
لا شيء فيها إلا العماء.
Nov 04, 2008 louisa rated it it was amazing
Back to Simic after time with World this late summer. I'll let him speak for himself with what are still my two favorite pages:

"It was the epoch of the masters of levitation. Some evenings we saw solitary men and women floating above the dark tree tops. Could they have been sleeping or thinking? They made no attempt to navigate. The wind nudged them ever so slightly. We were afraid to speak, to breathe. Even the nightbirds were quiet. Later, we'd mention the little book clasped in the hand of
Mar 18, 2010 Erikaaaa rated it liked it
The cover of The World Doesn't End is ugly, but offers an image by Joseph Cornell. From what I've heard, one isn't supposed to dwell on book covers much. But I think Cornell is the absolute best, and so I was pleased to find Charles Simic’s weird little prose poems to be an apt match.

That’s not to say that this book is The Best. I may change my mind and grant this four stars, but I’ll have to read it again.

Prose poems are hard to define, but this collection wouldn’t be a bad way to define them.
Hasan Makhzoum
Apr 17, 2013 Hasan Makhzoum rated it really liked it
If you are inclined to question Simic's poetry in this remarkable book, i recommend for more insights on the "genre" of his poetry, to read the review “The Smiles and Chills in the Poetry of Charles Simic”, published by the NY Times or the long introspective interview with the author for Paris Review. Because as Beth Steidel puts it : "Suffice to say, if you enjoy nothing more than a nice long romp in formalism, this book is not for you".
While reading it you'll plunge in a phantasmagorical terri
Mohamed elbeshbeeshy
أمير الشعراء الأمريكي تشارلز سيميك يسلم أحمد شافعي الموفق في ترجمته إلى حد رائع ناصية ديوانه الجميل العالم لا ينتهي ليصيبك في وجودك ..بقصيدة نثر حداثية الاقتباس منها أبلغ فدع عنك التحليل ..
" الضياع بلدة مثل كل البلاد ، بائعاتها الآن عائدات إلى البيوت بعد إنتهاء العمل .. ولا بد أن أؤكد لنفسي أنهن حقيقيات فأتسول عشرة سنتات من إحداهن .."
اقتباس اخر :
في رقة تفردني بمكواة بخارية ساخنة أو تدس يدها بداخلي كأنني جورب يحتاج للرفة .. الخيط الذي تستعمله يشبه دمي السائل .. لكن حدة الإبرة لا مثيب لها ..
May 04, 2010 Joanna rated it really liked it
This was such a dream like volume of poetry. The way that Simic uses language to create fresh and imaginative images is a constant surprise. The fact that most poems are titled only by first line, and only in the table of contents, makes the experience of this slim volume almost like reading a lengthy minor epoch. I enjoyed the leaps and the turnings quite a bit. A wonderful journey through some of Simic's work.
Oct 21, 2007 stacy marked it as to-read
had the opportunity to meet this guy recently. as i'm always slow or worse to the books line, by the time i wandered over to his, the books were--poof--gone. i snagged a copy of a friend to breeze through....

so this guy, this charles simic, wrote a poem called "charles simic." ha. i like him already. besides, he's a good and funny story-teller. you just gotta listen close. he's quiet.
Apr 15, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing
Earlier today there were two apparent bombs that went off at the end of the Boston Marathon. It was a book I couldn’t really put down after I started reading it. It seemed the right thing to be reading today. In very short pieces taking up, each, less than a page - they describe a world that is both nonsensical and makes perfect sense. Much like today. He writes of pain and wonder and mystery. This is a day for poetry. Other words can’t describe it. I’m glad I read it.
Jan 23, 2008 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful. I love that this book is dedicated to James Tate as it truly evokes a brilliance that rings true of both poets. Simic's beautiful book of strange and beautiful prose poems are joyous, gripping, familiar, intense, and otherworldly all at the same time. Perfect little poems all bound in a bunch.
جابر طاحون
May 12, 2015 جابر طاحون rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: شعر

يخطو الميت نازلا من على المقصلة. يحمل تحت ذراعه رأسه الذبيح.
شجر التفاح مُزهر. والميت يشق طريقه إلى حانة القرية والجميع يشاهدون. هنالك يسحب كرسياً ويجلس جنب منضدة ويطلب زجاجتي بيرة, واحدةً له وواحدةً لرأسه. تمسح أمي يديها في المريلة وتقوم على خدمته.
ما أشد الهدوء في العالم. يمكن للمرء أن يسمع النهر, الذي أحيانا ما ينسى في غمرة ارتباكه, ويجري إلى الوراء
Jun 20, 2008 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I love this guy. If you like poetry, cool imagery, not doing drugs but feeling the effect, rockin-on into the good night my dude, then this guy's for you. Knock back a tall one for your professor, will you? Ahhhhhhhhh . . .
Dec 22, 2008 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
pg 17 :
The stone is a mirror which works poorly. Nothing in it but dimness. Its dimness or your dimness, who's to say? In its hush your heart sounds like a black cricket.

I love this book. You can flip to any page and read (it's a collection of prose-poems).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Selected Poems
  • The Tunnel: Selected Poems
  • Different Hours
  • Black Zodiac
  • Blizzard of One
  • Above the River: The Complete Poems
  • The Shadow of Sirius
  • Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems
  • Human Wishes
  • The Simple Truth
  • The Selected Levis
  • Moy Sand and Gravel
  • Dancing in Odessa
  • Walking to Martha's Vineyard
  • The Man Suit
  • Some Ether
  • Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems
  • Repair
Charles Simic (born Dušan Simić) is a Serbian-American poet and the 15th Poet Laureate of the United States. He is co-Poetry Editor of the Paris Review. Simic is the 2007 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. This $100,000 (US) prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.
More about Charles Simic...

Share This Book

“If the sky falls they shall have clouds for supper.” 30 likes
“I was already dozing off in the shade, dreaming that the rustling trees were my many selves explaining themselves all at the same time so that I could not make out a single word. My life was a beautiful mystery on the verge of understanding, always on the verge! Think of it!” 16 likes
More quotes…